Archive for Beliefs – Page 2

Calling all Mothers… do you know how to fly a kite?

Why Mothering is like Kite FlyingMy mother is a wise woman who has taught me many things.  As Mother’s Day approaches I’ve been thinking about her most valuable ‘pearls of wisdom’. The one that stands out most is that mothering has a lot in common with the art, skill and joy of flying a kite.

Like many, when I became a mother I was overwhelmed by the responsibility.  In spite of all the experiences and advice readily shared those who had been there before me, I was bewildered.  There was no definitive guidebook and besides, like all children, my daughter was unique. The book on how to raise her had yet to be written and I was floundering.

After patiently listening to my anguished account of one particularly gruelling day, my Mum shared this insight and suddenly it all made sense.

Mothering is like flying a kite.

To prepare we ensure the kite is sound; the string is firmly attached; the handle is strong and our feet are planted firmly on the ground.

When our babies take their first steps, we let the string out a little. As it whips and turns we hold on tight and keep it close.  Invariably in those early days, it comes crashing to the ground whilst occasionally floating for a few precious minutes.

As our children grow and set out to explore the world, the kite becomes more confident.  The string tenses and we let it out a little further.  Magically, it stays afloat a little longer – catching the breeze, sometimes dipping and turning before it returns safely to us.

Through the teenage years the kite seeks to fly higher and the string tightens, straining to be free.  Cautiously, we let the string out a little further.  Sometimes it becomes tangled in the trees and we carefully climb up to retrieve it.  Winding it back in a little, we firm our grip until it feels safe and secure again.

Some days the kite won’t want to go out flying, preferring to curl up on the couch in its PJs, safe and secure in the comfort of home.  Brought in for running repairs, all the kite needs is a bowl of hot soup and a cuddle.  It doesn’t need a mother to tell it how to fly, it simply needs a mother to stay attached on the other end of the string.

Over time we become more adept and the kite stretches further into the sky as our children soar towards independence and freedom.  While it reaches great heights, swooping and arcing until it becomes a dot in the distance, it’s always attached.  With pride we watch it achieve great things, catching the currents of life and weathering occasional strong winds.

The art of mothering is all about knowing when to let the string out; when to reel it back in and when to simply leave it be.

Now my daughter is a young adult, we’ve learnt how to fly the kite together.  These days we venture out to fly alongside each other, sharing flights and experiences whenever we can.  More often we fly solo, always knowing that the string is attached.  I know that when the time comes, I'll be there gently guiding my daughter as she learns how to fly rather than be the kite.

Thank you to my mother for teaching this valuable lesson, to my daughter for allowing me to make mistakes and to both of them for helping me master the art of kite flying.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those Mums out there who are learning how to let their children soar. 

What 'pearl of wisdom' has your mother shared that's made your role as a mother that bit easier?

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

Resignation Rules – how to walk out with your head held high

Leaving a job that's passed its 'use by' date?

Your Reputation Goes Ahead of YouWe've all agonised over the prospect of leaving a job and eventually come to the conclusion that it's time to move on. Either the job has become untenable or a far better opportunity beckons. But before you rush headlong into your shiny new future, it's wise to carefully plan your resignation.

Burning bridges may provide short-term satisfaction as you let loose and share a few less than complimentary home truths about the company you're leaving.  However, the fallout is likely to have a far greater negative impact on you than your current employer.  While it's tempting to think, "Oh well, it doesn't really matter, I'm leaving anyway," actually, it does.

People remember what you say and do and the world is a small place.  While your great life redesign provides a fresh start, chances are someone from your old world will know someone in your future.  Your reputation will travel ahead of you and before you know it, when you're introduced to someone you want to impress, they'll instantly make a connection and snap judgement.  "Aren't you the guy who left XXX under a cloud?"

A veteran of 9 carefully considered resignations and through my work as a professional career coach, here's what I've learnt about how to keep your reputation intact, enjoy your last few weeks and walk out with your head held high.

7 Ways to Exit Your Job Gracefully

1. Know where you're heading

A clear plan for the future will give you the certainty you need to move forward confidently.  Even if you’re not jumping straight into a new job, choosing to take stock and work out what you want to do next is a positive step.  Be confident about your resignation and feel optimistic about the future you’ve chosen.

2. Get the timing right

While it's tempting to resign as soon as you've decided that it's time to go, think about what's best for you and the organisation you're leaving.  Consider your notice period and make sure you tell the right people in the right order.  Your boss won't want to hear that you're leaving via the grapevine.

If the nature of your work means your company will need you to finish up immediately, plan for this and don't take it personally.  Policy is not a personal slight on your competence or value.

3. Decide how you want to be remembered

Act without regret and consciously choose the legacy you want to leave behind. Once you've decided, act accordingly.   Whether you have a day, week or month from resignation to exit, work to create a positive last impression. Invest as much focus and energy in this as you did in creating a positive first impression when you started.

4. Don't take your eye off the ball

Resist the temptation to 'down tools'.  While you may not feel as committed to your role once you've resigned, this isn't a time to stop responding to emails just because you won't be involved in the future.

Focus on what you can realistically achieve during your notice period and do whatever it takes to wrap up incomplete tasks or projects.  Identify opportunities where you can add value by getting things done and be pro-active about helping your colleagues succeed. Your professional reputation and integrity are depending on it.

5. Accept the disconnect and let go

You may notice that once word of your resignation gets out, you're invited to fewer meetings, your inbox seems emptier and fewer people are asking for your help or opinion. This is a normal response to change and again not personal. 

Your colleagues will be learning to manage without you over this time which is healthy. Consciously use the freed up time to make it easy for them, organise your files and facilitate a handover.

6. Maintain perspective

Become a ‘fly on the wall' and simply observe what's going on, without engaging emotionally. Everything is relative and this job won’t have been all good or all bad. Once you've resigned, it's no longer about you and this is a great time to create short-term, quick wins that will make a big difference long after you've gone.

7. Celebrate a job well done

Take time to reflect on all you've achieved and learnt.  Capturing achievements and lessons learnt along the way will help you identify your strengths, core skills and what you're most proud of.  Even the toughest challenges that brought lessons you wouldn't have chosen, are invaluable.  Recognise the positive difference you've made and use this as a springboard to your next job or a new career.

The last few days may be a blur of farewell coffees, lunches and drinks which are a great time to thank and acknowledge those who have made a difference to you.  Be generous with your thanks, particularly to those you found challenging to work with. As you hand in your pass, close the final box and turn off the light, take a last look around and be thankful for the experience. 

It’s time to pick up the box, hold your head high and walk through that door one last time knowing you’ve made a graceful exit. The future beckons…

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

What Are You Waiting For?

Scene from Waiting for GodotHave you ever noticed how many people are waiting for xxxx before they do yyyy?  It almost seems like they’re 'on hold' until their children are older, they have more money, they’ve paid off the mortgage, their health is better….

Whatever the rationale, they’ve invented a perfectly good reason to defer what they truly desire.  Resigned to the belief that they can’t have what they want, they sit back and let life pass by. It’s kind of like Samuel Beckett's famous play Waiting for Godot, where the entire plot centres around Estragon, Pozzo and Vladimir who are waiting for someone who never arrives and something that never happens.

Sure you may need to be patient and bide your time but only for so long.  Success never came to anyone who was merely wishing, waiting and hoping for it to land in their lap.

What’s waiting really costing you?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of instant gratification!  This isn’t about seeing something you want and getting it now.  It is about having a dream and doing whatever you can to make it happen without excuses.  Challenge yourself and be honest.  Maybe the rational reasons you’re deferring your dream are really fear of failure excuses for not stepping up and making it happen.

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you have any regrets right now? On the other hand, if you knew you couldn't fail, how different would that be?

Perhaps the true wake-up call comes when those you love tell you that your 'play it safe' risk aversion is dragging them down and holding them back.  Many relationships fail when one partner stays stuck while the other wants to spread their wings.

You do deserve it!

For over 20 years a friend of mine gave his beloved grandmother a beautiful cake of expensive French soap for Christmas.  A gentle and humble person, she opened her gift each year with genuine delight.  Although she knew what the gift was, her eyes lit up and she smiled as she deeply inhaled the soap’s beautiful perfume.  Every Christmas it was as if it was the first time she’d received such a lovely gift.  My friend smugly declared himself the ‘favourite grandson’.

This wonderful woman died peacefully at 82.  When my friend was helping his father pack up her belongings he opened a drawer in her dressing table and was stunned to find 25 cakes of carefully placed, unused French soap.  Slowly and sadly it dawned on him – his grandmother had never felt she deserved the beautiful soap enough to use it.

Many people deny themselves happiness because they feel they don’t deserve it.  So focused on feeling unworthy or where they’ve fallen short, they totally overlook the successes they've achieved and positive differences they’ve made to others along the way.   We all make mistakes and trip up from time to time but that’s no reason to not create a positive future.  Perhaps it's all the greater motivation to make the most of the life you have left.

Defining moments are great catalysts for change

You’ll always remember the moments that shape your life, taking it off on a new course.  For some it may be the birth of their first child; for others it could be divorce, a health scare, the death of a loved one or redundancy.  Whatever it is for you, a defining moment is one where you know without a shadow of doubt, that life from here on will be different.  Everything happens for a reason – you just might not realise what the reason is at the time. 

Zero birthdays (30, 40, 50 etc) are often times when we reflect on what we’ve achieved and try to create a crystal ball to determine what lies ahead. Even if it doesn’t smack you in the face, a gently dawning defining moment could also be the perfect excuse to redesign your life and take action now. 

The Great Life Redesign shares the true story of Steve’s chance meeting with a stranger at a railway station and how it set him off on an adventure that would see him walking the Kokoda Trail and many other exciting adventures. The message behind Steve’s story is that rather than looking for reasons not to do something, find just one reason to do it!

Whatever your defining moment, use it as a springboard to take a giant leap towards how you want life to be.  Your goals don’t need to be ambitious and grandiose – they simply need to be meaningful and compelling.

In the immortal words of Alfred De Souza who believed that happiness is a journey not a destination,

Work like you don't need money

Love like you've never been hurt

And dance like no one's watching.

So, when would now be a good time to stop waiting and step intentionally towards your dreams?  Go on, there's really nothing stopping you.

Carpe Diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

How to keep going, no matter how big the challenge ….

When the going gets tough, the tough get going…

Resilience - the key to keeping going, no matter what

I turned on the news this morning to hear that two children have been killed in a house fire; the Sunshine Coast has been deluged by floods and the horrific Toulouse siege has ended with a dramatic shoot out.

Not for the first time I wondered, how on earth do those affected by disasters ever recover?

Closer to home, we all face times when we’d love to simply curl up in a ball and give up.  When it all seems too hard, shock, grief and overwhelm threaten to engulf us and it feels like we can’t go on.  Yet go on we must and there’s a lot we can learn from survivors who pick themselves up, dust themselves off and little by little get on with their lives.

Taken from your Thrival Kit, the secret to recovery is Resilience – a quiet, steely inner resource we all possess that moves you forward, one step at a time.  Whether you’re tackling a challenge that feels beyond you, recovering from personal tragedy or heading into unchartered waters, it’s something you’re going to need in bucket loads!

When things don’t go quite to plan, the unexpected happens and your commitment is sorely tested, it’s resilience that will get you out of bed in the morning and keep you going, no matter what.

Grounded in your values and beliefs, resilience is simply a way of being.  While you can’t touch it, you can certainly feel and see it.  Knowing its ingredients makes it easier to call on whenever you need it. Unlike a cake it doesn’t matter what order you mix these in.  There’s also no limit to how much of each you add – the more the better!

7 Simple Ways to Build Resilience

1. Perspective – things are never as bad as they seem.

Draw on past experience; be philosophical and look beyond what’s happening right now to see where this event sits in the bigger scheme of life.

2. Optimism – it will get better! 

The sun will continue to rise, the floodwaters will recede and the mop-up will happen.  Know that you will come through this, stronger and wiser for the experience.

3. Clarity about where you want to go from here

This includes knowledge and certainty about how a better future will be.  Imagine how great it will be when you’ve triumphed over the challenge.

4. Gritty Determination –  the power to stay on track, regardless of what threatens to overwhelm you

Bloody-mindedness, stubbornness and an ironclad belief that this will not get the better of you, determination will keep you firmly focused on the future.

5. Conservation – conserve your physical and emotional energy to keep going

Personal disaster and major change are insidiously draining.  You will feel tired and less energetic than when things are going well and it’s important to conserve your energy.  Consciously invest headspace, time and effort in anything that increases your energy.

6. Support and Friends – give you time-out, replacing loneliness with strength and kinship. 

This isn’t a time to be brave and stoic.  Reach out to those who can help you and lighten the load.  After all, when the tables are turned, you’ll be there for them.

7. Time – perspective’s cousin and resilience’s best friend. 

Think back to tragic events or major life changes you’ve endured and you’ll notice how things do eventually get better, one hour, day, month and year at a time.

But wait, there’s even a set of steak knives with resilience!  It’s cumulative (steadily building over each adverse event you experience) and will always be there to help you through future challenges.

As you set about overcoming a challenge or redesigning your life, keep your resilience topped up. It will get better and there’s nothing you can’t overcome.

Carpe Diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

 

PS – You actually have even more handy inner resources you can call on when the going gets tough.  To find out more, grab a copy of The Great Life Redesign.

Slaying the Fear Dragon – how to stop fear dead in its tracks!

Slaying the Fear DragonFEAR – it’s the #1 blocker that stops us from creating change and achieving our potential. The mere mention of it strikes dread in our heartsand has us running in the opposite direction of our dreams and goals. Common fear feeders such as public speaking, risk taking, festering work conflict, phobias, worries and change we feel is being imposed on us can create terror in the most courageous of us all.

Yesterday I had a call from Jane, a smart, goal-oriented professional and mother of two. She has a high powered, fulfilling yet all-consuming job and is the main bread winner for her family. At 42 Jane wants to start her own home-based business. She’d love be more involved in the daily lives of her children and reduce the stress of constantly juggling work, family and life. She’s dreamt of starting her business for over 5 years and has great ideas about what it could do. With great business experience, commercial acumen, vision and drive there’s really nothing to stop her. Or is there…?

What’s really getting in her way is fear. Fear of failure (not an option for an otherwise successful high achiever), fear of it creating even more stress, fear of the unknown and fear that it wouldn’t bring in enough money quickly enough. I know what it’s like. When I left my safe, secure job with its regular pay cheque to set up my own business, I felt like I’d jumped out of a plane without a parachute! Without the familiar routine, support of work colleagues and no guarantee it would work, I was terrified. For the first few months I was free falling. Yet once my well laid plans kicked in and the business took off, I discovered how to pull the rip-chord which had been there all along.

If fear is the only thing standing between you and embracing a workplace change or pursuing a long-held dream (life redesign), relax and read on.

5 simple steps to slay the fear dragon, live your dream and sleep well at night.

#1. Name your fear

Fear is your body’s alert system that tells you something’s not right. However, it’s not fear itself that’s the problem. Identify what it is you’re scared of or worried about and give it a name. Better still, create a funny picture in your mind that represents your fear. You can even give it a silly voice (eg Donald Duck)! This helps you acknowledge the fear without engaging it.

#2. Cut your fear down to size

Pull out your sword and put it into perspective. In the same way that nightmares seem more scary in the dead of night, repressed fears have a tendency to multiply and expand to disastrous and catastrophic proportions. What’s the worst thing that will happen if this fear were to come true? Maybe it’s not as bad as you’ve been dreading.

#3. Plan B – your secret weapon

What would you do if the ‘worse’ thing were to happen? Committing to the action you would take is like taking out an insurance policy or applying a 5 star safety rating. It won’t make it happen but will ensure you’re well prepared if it did. Chapter 13 of The Great Life Redesign shares simple ways to create a Plan B.

#4 Outsmart the fear

Ask yourself a better question – if this fear wasn’t there what would be possible? What if it does work out just fine? The grass is always greener on the optimistic side. Shifting your focus to fearless possibilities will set you up divert your focus, thoughts, energy and action into making them real instead of indulging in fear.

#5 Be vigilant

You may have slayed the fear dragon this time but it can and will come back! Recognise it early and take action quickly. Ask yourself, ‘what’s this fear trying to tell me and what can I do to tame it right now?’ Remember you are always bigger than your fears and slaying them is within your power. Keep these Fear Dragon Slaying Steps in your Thrival Kit, call on your inner resources (courage, perspective, calm and foresight) to help out and you’ll never face a fear you can’t overcome. What fears have you overcome and how did you do it?

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

What do You Want to BE When You Grow Up?

a question for all adults and how to make the answer easy

What do you want to BE when you grow up?

If you ask any child under 10 what they want to be when they grow up, chances are you’ll get a quick, enthusiastic and certain answer.

When you put the same question to grown-ups, the answers are often vague and vexed.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost our ability to connect with what we really want to do. Fulfilment seems hader to find. Fear replaces courage and indecision leads us on a never-ending quest to find the ‘right’ job.

When I became a management consultant many years ago, I thought it would be the perfect way to find my dream job. Working with many different organisations would give me a ‘sneak peak’ into a wide variety of careers. I fully expected to walk into a company, see someone doing something I’d love and ‘bingo’ – there’s my answer!

The reality was very different. While I did get to check out many different jobs, industries and organisations, I mostly saw people who were struggling to find their ‘perfect’ job, just like me. Many had fallen into roles opportunistically, being in the right place at the right time, rather than consciously deciding that this was what they really wanted to do.

Fast forward 5 years and I’m now being paid to do something I love but it didn’t happen until I worked out how to find my dream job. If this sounds like you, take heart!

How to find work that feeds your soul and puts a roof over your head

1. Go back to your childhood!

Mining your past for vital clues is a great way to spark your imagination. What did you love doing as a child when anything was possible? Recapture your childhood dreams and notice what it was about each one that excited you.

When you were a kid (before reality set in), limitations were few which created the freedom to be whatever you dreamt.  Notice how you focused on what you wanted to ‘be‘ rather than ‘do’.  Hmmm, there’s another clue.

2. Stock take your career and life so far

Looking back over everything you’ve done, list the achievements and tasks you’ve really enjoyed. Even the less fulfilling experiences will provide clues about what you could and should be doing. Now write down everything you haven’t necessarily enjoyed and quite frankly, never want to do again. What was it about the positive experiences that ticked all your boxes and the negatives that left you cold?

3. What are you good at?

Inevitably, what you’re good at is probably what you enjoy most. Over the years you’ll have gained skills and knowledge that have led you to become an accomplished expert in one field or another. Even if this type of work has past its expiry date, the strengths you’ve gained in this area can be converted into transferable skills.

4. Know what difference you want to make

There’s a reason we’ve all been put on this earth and now’s the time to reveal your overall purpose. Far bigger than a single job or career, this shapes who you are in all the life roles you play. What problems do you like to solve and what really matters most to you?

Often this is more closely related to what you care about, than what you do for work. Knowing it consciously will give you far greater choice and help you make clear decisions about where to from here.

5. Get curious and explore all the options

Many of today’s jobs weren’t even invented 5 years ago and the path to fulfilling work starts with curiosity. Your answers to the previous questions will have revealed some key themes.

  • What do your childhood dreams, career and life so far, strengths and your purpose all have in common?
  • What do they reveal about you?

Once you’ve identified these themes, start researching what’s possible.

Now you’re consciously aware of what you want to be and therefore do, career magnets (ie those roles, industries and organisations that tick your boxes) will jump out at you. Keep and open mind, imagine and explore what a ‘day in the life of…’ would be like?

The key to finding fulfilling work is to ask the right questions. Rather than saying, “I couldn’t do that because…”, ask yourself, “If this were possible, how could I make it happen?”

6.Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Once you’ve decided which direction you’ll take, develop a plan to bridge the gap and commit to one small step at a time. The transition to your new career will take as long as it needs to and gaining the support of family, friends and mentors will help convert your possibility into a reality.

What would a day in your perfect job look like?  Life’s too short to not be doing what you love. Blow away the excuses and discover what you should be doing, now you’re ‘grown up’!

Carpe diem

Caroline

 

 

Be Careful What You Wish For

What’s your job really costing you and is it worth it?

Work Trap37 year old Mary had everything she could wish for or… did she?

Always ambitious, she’d finally scored her dream job heading up a $75m, international project for a construction company. The luring package included a generous, multiple six-figure salary, all expenses paid business class travel, ipad, iphone and a number of other glittering perks.

But it came at a cost.

Whilst taking a short break with her family over Christmas, her days were constantly interrupted by streams of urgent phone calls from her manager, anywhere between 7am and 10pm. Emails couldn’t wait so she logged on down at the beach while her beautiful, eight year old daughter Ellie played in the waves and built sandcastles on her own. Her demanding client didn’t ‘get’ the time zone difference and the sound of incoming text messages echoed through the darkness while her family slept on.

Yes, she could have turned the phone off and refused to log in – after all, she was on annual leave. However, Mary’s company had an unwritten rule and unspoken expectation that senior executives would be on call and contactable 24/7. Besides she didn’t want to let her client, manager or team down and was committed to being ‘on top of it all’.

Her husband Dave was resigned to but unhappy about the constant interruptions and their arguments were becoming more frequent. Even when she was with her family, she wasn’t really. Totally conflicted, by the time she returned to work Mary was stressed and exhausted.  If nothing changes, she’ll pay the ultimate price losing her health, closest relationships and happiness.

It seems as though we’ve spent the last 10 years striving to become more efficient, mobile, contactable and indispensable – but at what cost? Latest figures from the Race Against Time Report, (National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling and AMP Financial Services) show that balancing work and family remains a big issue for working men and women, with around 40% of women and 30% of men feeling often or always rushed or pressed for time. Worse still, you probably won’t be paid or adequately compensated for ‘out of hours’ work.

It’s your life – hop into the driver’s seat and take control

If Mary’s story sounds familiar to you or someone you’re close to, maybe it’s time to take stock. Ask yourself:

  • What are the real expectations of the job (rather than the assumptions)?
  • What price am I really paying and is it worth it?
  • What am I prepared to do to get the job done and have a life?
  • What boundaries do I need to keep my job in perspective and priorities in focus?
  • Who can I call on to share the workload and how else could we get the job done?

Set up a meeting with your manager and team, go prepared with creative solutions and be open to new ways of working. Remember, your colleagues have a life outside work too. While work demands are ever-increasing, the pressure on companies to reduce stress and foster wellbeing is growing too. But the ultimate responsibility for yours rests with you.

Get clear about what’s important, decide what you are prepared to do (or not) and take deliberate action to make it happen.

Life’s short – it’s time to get moving and create the life you really wish for.

Carpe diem.

Caroline

 

 

If you’re wanting simple ways to reclaim your life, my new book, The Great Life Redesign will show you how.  It’s now available in all good bookstores and here.

10 Easy Ways to Make Any New Year a Ripper!

Know where you are and decide where you’re heading.

New Year, New Life ChapterAs this year hurtles at break-neck pace towards its finale, we vow that somehow, 'next year will be better'. But, hang on, is 'better' good enough?  Don't we want it to be the best ever?

Like a fresh, blank page in a book, the New Year marks a brand new chapter in your life. Whether you’re on track to achieve bigger goals or wanting to make smaller changes, these tips will help you set next year up to be a 'ripper'.

1. Learn from the past and move on

If you’ve made a few mistakes this year, don’t worry, we all have! Take time to identify what went wrong, convert your precious life lessons into wisdom and move on. By extracting the lessons from mistakes or failures, you can let whatever was ‘wrong’ about that event go.

2.Take stock of where you are

Step back and give each area of your life an A – F grade. Review what’s working and what isn’t in your relationships, health, wealth/finances, career, home, environment, community, challenge/growth and spirituality/beliefs.

3.Consciously decide what to keep and what will be different

Having mentally reviewed each room in your ‘life house’, decide and make a list of what needs to change. If you do make a change, what will actually be different and how will that be better than what you have today?

4. Create a Next Year Vision

If next year was to be your best, what would you most like to achieve? By this time next year, what will be happening that isn’t happening today. Write down change keywords to decide where you’re going to invest time, energy and effort. Based on where you’re heading, what will it look, sound and feel like and who will be there with you?

5. Decide how you’ll make your vision a reality

This includes setting goals and developing strategies to bring your vision to life. Without these your vision will be based on wishful thinking – unlikely to ever be realised. Make concrete plans and hold yourself accountable for making change happen. Set yourself up for success by surrounding yourself with everything you need to make it happen.

6.  Keep it simple

Unecessary complexity often creates drag on life redesign plans.  Like barnacles on a boat, the more you add, the heavier it gets and the slower progress moves.  Before you know it, your big plans have ground to a halt, bogged down in red tape.  Pack light, only do what's necessary and remove any unecessary clutter.

7. Commit to the plan

Change without commitment is like a car without petrol – there's a limit to how far you'll get without it!  What will it take to commit to the necessary action and stick with it for as long as it takes?  Deciding what to say 'no' to will help create the necessary time and energy to make important life redesign changes happen.

8. Engage your support team

Even Hilary didn't conquer Everest alone.  Behind every great achievement is a strong support team – those people who'll protect your back and cheer you on.  Identify what challenges you're likely to face and who you need to keep you on track.  How can you best help them? Remember, life is karmic – what you put out will come back to you many times over.

9. Celebrate the wins

In the quest to 'get things done', we often forget to celebrate our achievements big and small. Take time to feel the satisfaction of achieving each goal and notice what it was that helped you get there. The ‘high’ of achieving a win will keep you motivated for future success.

10. Embrace the small stuff

The greatest enjoyments in life are often hidden in the small events that happen every day. Unfortunately in today’s fast paced life, we are often too busy to even notice them. If you need ideas, check out 1,000 Awesome Things. Revel in life’s little pleasures and start your own book of Awesomes – you’ll be surprised how quickly you fill it.

How next year shapes up is well within your control. Great and not so great things will happen but that’s not as important as how you respond to them. So, go on, make the most of it, ‘let rip’ and love every moment for what the new year gives you.

Carpe diem

Caroline

 

 

Unexpected Life Lessons from an Unconventional Teacher

So much wisdom from one small vegetable!

Unexpected Life Lessons from an Unconventional TeacherOK, so I’m not the world’s most gifted green thumb but when I planted my winter veggies back in April, I did expect to be harvesting a few fresh cauliflowers by the end of June. The label even said they’d be ready within eight weeks.

By the end of July I had promising looking leaves but no cauliflowers.  In late August the leaves were even bigger but nothing more.  By September I’d forgotten all about them and given up.  It looked like a self-fulfilling prophecy – I’m hopeless at growing veggies and this proved it!

The vegetable patch was soon taken over by enthusiastic weeds as I resigned myself to failure and other priorities took over.  The cold wet winter gave way to warm spring sunshine and towards the end of October, I decided to give up on the winter crop.
Besides it was time to plant fresh lettuce, baby cucumber and sweet tomatoes and transfer my hope to the lovely tastes of summer.

Approaching the veggie patch to clear it all out and start again I suddenly stopped.  There, to my amazement, was a perfect cauliflower, peering up at me amidst the weeds!  A few days later, two more beautiful cauliflowers appeared.  Nearly seven months after they were planted, they'd finally decided the time was right.

Here’s what I’ve learnt from such a seemingly mundane event:

  1. Don’t give up too soon – success could be just around the corner
  2. Surprises happen when you least expect them and are all the sweeter for waiting
  3. Expectation often generates disappointment
  4. Many things happen in their own good time if you simply ‘leave them be’
  5. Patience is a seriously underrated virtue

These are all timely reminders for anyone experiencing change.  Whether you're redesigning your life – changing jobs, relationships, where or how you live or going through change in your workplace, pearls of wisdom will make the transition easier.

Who knew I could learn so much from a cauliflower?  Now that my conscious awareness is switched on, I’m looking for learning and timely reminders everywhere.

What unexpected life lessons have you learnt from an unconventional ‘teacher’?

Carpe diem

Caroline

 

 

Beat the Back-to-Work Blues

Dreading the thought of going back to work?

Beat the Back to Work BluesYou know you’ve got them when that gnawing dread that started on Sunday afternoon moves to the pit of your stomach.  As you head off to work on Monday morning there’s a sinking feeling that just won’t shift and when you think back, this isn’t the first time you’ve felt like this.

With an endless stream of back to back meetings, relentless emails to deal with and looming deadlines, the thought of going back to work on Monday is often the low light of the week. To make matters worse, researchers have found that Monday morning is the most common time of the week to suffer a heart attack and the link with workdread seems more than a coincidence.

Yet the start of the work week doesn’t need to be dreaded.  Imagine how it would be if you looked forward to Monday morning as much as you do Friday evening? Even if you don’t love your job, it is possible to convert that sinking feeling by shifting the way you think about work.

Here are some simple ways to get you started:

Identify what’s within your control and forget the rest

Many people feel frustrated about things they actually can’t or don’t know how to influence.  This includes the behaviours of others, the direction their company is taking or the tedious trip to work.  Investing energy in these is wasted.  The only person you
have full control over is you – including the way you think and act.

Decide what you want control over and take constructive steps.

You actually do have more control than you realise over many of the stressors that are driving your Monday morning dread.  This includes your workload which can be successfully negotiated with your manager and others (when you know how). Taking time on Monday morning to set clear goals for the week ahead will keep you focused on what’s important and help you achieve more of what matters. This can be as simple as blocking out a sacred hour on Monday morning in your calendar for planning.

If your job really has ‘done its day’ and there’s nothing more to do or achieve, take steps to plan and implement your next career move.  This could be as simple as identifying what you love to do and how you can best use your strengths and then researching all the options.

Notice what you’re telling yourself – it’s absolutely true!

Nothing has meaning except the one you put on it and this can be easily changed. If you believe your job is stressful, boring or frustrating, you’re right, it is.  Yet by shifting your ‘truth’ to a more empowering belief, you’ll instantly change the way you feel about it.  I used to believe that my 2 hour daily commute on the clogged freeway was a complete waste of time.  Regularly stressed about being late to work or collecting my daughter from day care, I resented that freeway like nothing else!

Yet I soon realised there was nothing I could do about how slowly the traffic moved and as the alternative routes were equally slow, the only thing I could change was my attitude.  Allowing an extra 10 minutes each day was a practical first step – if I
got to where I was going early, that was a bonus.

I also saw my twice daily commute as ‘my time’ – time between work and home where I could sit in my own little bubble, listen to my music rather than the Wiggles and reflect on the day that was.  The positive effect of changing my thinking was instant and dramatic.  I planned the day ahead on the drive into work; no longer took work problems home (they were solved on the drive home) and had regular, daily time to just ‘be’.

There are many other ways to shift that back-to-work-Monday sinking feeling.  What’s your best tip for bowling into work eager and ready to enjoy the week ahead?

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron